Credit: Nicole Le Baron, June 5, 2019
Since June 1, marine mammal observers working for the ECHO Program have spotted humpback whales almost every day in Boundary Pass. Slow moving humpbacks are highly susceptible to vessel strikes. Mariners are encouraged to report all marine mammal sightings to the Whale Report app and to download the WhaleReport Alert System (WRAS) app to be informed of where whales are in order to reduce the potential for collision and disturbance. The WRAS app will send you a text whenever there is a whale is within 10nm of you. Find out more here.
Green Marine has released their participants’ 2018 sustainability results. The program has 133 participants – up 12% from last year. Participants rank their efforts on a 1-to-5 scale based on the detailed criteria addressing greenhouse gas emissions, community impacts, garbage and waste management, and other prioritized environmental issues. 144 reports were submitted for 2018 with some participants filing for more than one type of business activity or distinct locations, a 17% increase from last year. Read the full report here: https://green-marine.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2018Perfo_Report_WEB.pdf
The Port of Halifax has launched a vessel forecast report that enabling better scheduling of labor and yard preparation leading to improved cargo flow. The report is generated by a tool developed with the port by Copenhagen-based eeSea, which provides forecasts up to 30 days in advance of each vessel scheduled to call. The data, which is posted on the port’s website, enables users to see the scheduled arrival date, the forecast arrival date, and the difference between the two.
Quebec-born Wendy Williams is set to make history as the first Canadian female captain of a major cruise ship when she takes the helm of Virgin Voyages' newest ship. Williams will be the master of Scarlet Lady, set to sail next spring. Williams has more than 28 years of experience working on ships and started her career on a commercial fishing boat. She has held roles as a deckhand, ferryboat captain, and working on the bridge of other cruise ships. Fewer than 3 percent of the world's mariners are women, and the company announced last year that it plans to bridge the gender gap in leadership roles. Along with Williams, almost a dozen female officers and engineers have been recruited to join Virgin Voyages.
Canadian Pacific has used a strategically placed land holding as the home of its new Vancouver Automotive Compound (VAC). The VAC is in a prime location to handle vehicles made in North America for distribution in British Columbia, northern Washington State and parts of Alberta, as well as vehicles imported through the Port of Vancouver. The facility is built on 19 acres of CP-owned land adjacent to CP's Vancouver Intermodal Terminal. The compound has capacity for 36 multi-level auto racks and has nearly 1,200 bays for vehicles. CP has deployed a new yard logistics system that automates yard processes and supports real-time inventory reporting to give customers better visibility of their shipments. It also strengthens CP's damage prevention processes by enabling immediate uploading of inspection images. This new system was introduced in Vancouver and is being rolled out to all CP automotive compounds.
BC Ferries has launched the Northern Sea Wolf, a newly-acquired and renovated, 246-ft-long vessel that can carry 150 passengers and crew, and 35 vehicles. The vessel, previously known as the Aqua Spirit, was originally constructed in 2000. In 2017, BC Ferries bought the vessel for $12.6 million from its owner in Greece. A complete refit of the vessel was conducted at a facility in Richmond, where modernization work entailed a new galley, bridge, electrical generators, HVAC system, washrooms, elevator, chair lifts, and new cafeteria and passenger accommodation area. The total cost of the vessel is $76 million, including $15.1 million in funding from the federal government. The vessel will service the recently renewed route with non-stop service between Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Bella Coola.
Algoma Shipping has completed the acquisition of the interest of Oldendorff Carriers in the CSL International Pool, including the three vessels owned by Oldendorff operating in the pool. Algoma’s interest in the pool has now increased to approximately 40%. The three vessels, handysize bulker Alice Oldendorff and panamax bulkers Harmen Oldendorff and Sophie Oldendorff, have brought Algoma’s ocean going self-unloader fleet to eight vessels operating in the pool.
The expanded voluntary slowdown through Haro Strait and Boundary Pass will being once the southern resident killer whales are confirmed in the area by hydrophone data and/or trusted observers The whale monitoring period began on June 1. Participants will be notified of the slowdown start by email and on the ECHO Program website. Now in its third year, the goal of the trial is to better understand and reduce underwater noise effects on Southern Resident Killer Whales in their key foraging areas. The slowdowns are part of the ECHO Program using research that shows that reducing ship speed effectively reduces the underwater noise in nearby habitats. This in turn, is predicted to benefit the behaviour and feeding success of Southern Resident Killer Whales. The distance of the trial area has been increased by 15.1 nautical miles for a total of 29.6 nautical miles. The slowdown will continue until September 30, 2019 with two-week extensions to no later than October 31 if the whales are still present in the area.
Canadian Pacific Railway and Yang Ming have entered into an agreement to position the railroad to provide better service out of GCT Deltaport. CP will begin handling all of Yang Ming’s cargo moving through Canada in 2020 and will become the largest rail provider to Deltaport. In recent years, CP has intensified its efforts to focus on international intermodal services. Over the next 12 months, the Canadian railroad service contracts with several shipping lines will expire, potentially pitting the two Canadian railroads against each other for the business.
With a new contract in the works between the ILWU and the BCMEA, terminals in Vancouver and Prince Rupert will consider automated or semi-automated operations to accommodate growing container volumes. A very contentious issue facing waterfront employers, there are only two fully automated terminals and five semi-automated terminals in North America. Automation has the potential to help maintain the movement of good through the ports. Longshore unions view automation as a development that can potentially reduce jobs by 40-70 percent. However, automation also creates new jobs that involve computer programming and technology. The unions want to ensure if automation occurs, the jobs that are created fall under their jurisdiction and that union members will be trained to handle the new work.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has issued a report indicating that Canada needs to increase ocean protections. It notes that at least 30 percent of Canadian oceans should be protected to ensure all the habitats are protected and that we’re securing the future for healthy oceans. Protection could come in many forms, including banning oil, gas or mineral projects, not dumping waste and ruling out bottom-trawling fisheries. In the last two years, the percent of Canada’s oceans that are under some form of conservation agreement has risen from one percent to eight percent, a number that is likely to rise above 10 percent by next year. The full report can be found here: https://cpaws.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CPAWS_oceans_report2019_ENG_web.pdf
After a month of negotiations with a conciliator appointed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) and week with targeted strike action by the ILWU and a three-hour lockout by the employers, a tentative agreement has been reached. While details of agreement won't be released until after the ratification vote. Both parties were asked to return to the bargaining table less than 24 hours before the lockout would take effect. We are pleased that a tentative agreement was reached a look forward to a period of labour stability in our ports.
The Québec Port Authority has announced the signing of a long-term commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and CN to build and operate the new container terminal called Laurentia. The $775 million project will be financed primarily through the joint investment of the three partners. Laurentia terminal is strategically placed, and it will be able to play a unique role in the continent’s supply chain. As the major inland deep-water terminal in North America, it is the only facility in the St. Lawrence which could accommodate the new generations of very large ships. It also benefits from a direct railway and highway connection and has all the necessary space to handle efficiently thousands of containers per year. The project is currently under an environmental assessment process with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
BC Ferries has been seeking experts in reducing underwater noise as it builds new vessels and assesses reducing underwater noise from existing vessels. This is following a call by the National Energy Board in February for BC Ferries to take steps to reduce underwater noise to help the orcas. Although BC Ferries does not have an in-house expert team for underwater noise, it has accumulated more data than any other commercial fleet in the world. Help is being sought in how to ensure new vessels, equipment and on-board systems come together to ensure that noise mitigation targets can be reached.
In the aftermath of China banning plastic waste, Malaysia has claimed that there is an influx of waste containers being smuggled into the country to illegal processing plants. Malaysia will be sending around 3,000 metric tons of nonrecyclable plastic waste back to several countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. The government has clamped down on dozens of illegal plastic recycling facilities that have popped up around the country, shuttering more than 150 plants since last July.
Five grey whales have now washed ashore dead in B.C. in the last 2 months. Three of them have been found on the shores of Haida Gwaii. Proving to be a significant issue along the west coast, more than 60 grey whales have been found beached and dead along the West Coast between California and Alaska this year. Marine mammal experts are on Haida Gwaii working to determine the whales' causes of death.
BC Ferry Services has announced the resignation of Chair Donald P. Hayes, P. Geoffrey Plant, and Brian G. Kenning, effective May 22, 2019, following the introduction of a newly enacted amendment to the Coastal Ferry Act that sets term limits of board members to a maximum of eight consecutive years. As a result, these three board members have tendered their resignations.